Every now and then a back-to-basics blues album is issued and we are amazed at how effective simplicity really is. Guitars, vocals, and the music itself. This is just such an album. Hans Theessink & Terry Evans’ Delta Time (on the Blue Groove label) is intimate blues. Simple, beautiful, bare-bones intimate, and inspiring. In addition to the mastery of Theessink & Evans, Ry Cooder lends his mastery as well.
Hans Theessink (vocals, guitars, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, and “footstomper”), is one of Europe’s most respected blues artists, and a keeper of the blues flame. Having played 7500 concerts over 40 years, he is experienced, and that experience shines here. Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Terry Evans has been making music in one way or another for over 50 years now. He was a backing vocalist for Ry Cooder, and has worked with Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker, as well as numerous other artists of note. Ry Cooder; really, what can you say that has not been said already?
This is a very intimate album. The mix is at once sparse and very textured; rich even. This is quite remarkable considering there are no drums, bass, or even piano. At 59 minutes (CD version), there is an abundance of outstanding music to lose yourself in. “Delta Time,” is breezy, rolling, spacious & textured. “Blues Stay Away From Me,” featuring Ry Cooder, is slow, sparse, and quietly moving. “It Hurts Me Too” is cozy, like everyone is sitting around the fireplace just sipping whiskey and passing the guitars around. Cooder, joins in for a bright and spirited “How Come People Act Like That,” which has some great vocals. “The Birds And The Bees” is almost bluegrass, and also features some fine vocals, and elegant mandolin playing from Theessink. “Build Myself A Home” is a great gospel sounding piece that will have you back in church, tapping your foot and singing along! Evans shines on “Down In Mississippi,” delivering a deep, almost dark vocal that is the perfect counter to the music. This is a masterful track.
Moving through the album we come upon “Shelter From The Storm,” another cut that features Cooder’s great playing and Theessink’s vocal. The upbeat “I Need Money” will definitely have folks tapping their feet as it thumps along. “Heaven’s Airplane” has a wonderful old time gospel feel to it, and harkens back to days gone by. This is a beautiful piece of music. The album closes with a ten minute version of “Mississippi.” A cross between hill country blues and church calling music, this is good stuff! It thumps, stomps, and rolls along like a ’54 T-Bird cruising with the top down, wind in your face.
There are several aspects that make this album just undeniably amazing. The joy that Theessink and Evans (and Cooder) share playing together is apparent, and shines throughout the entire album. The musicianship is a cut above – really stellar. For an album with a laid back vibe, Delta Time really kicks. The production and sound are excellent. The music is textured, yet uncluttered, and really breathes. To not have this album in your collection would be absolutely criminal. Pick it up soon; you will be glad you did. Treat yourself – you deserve it.